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Agricultural Strategy – What Areas Should be Prioritized?

An interview with Minister of Agriculture of Georgia Shalva Pipia

– What is the effect of the activity of the funds created by the government to support agricultural projects?

– Funds are focused on stimulating regions with low economic activity – there are 40 such districts in Georgia. Accordingly, more favorable conditions for business were created there, as well as grants and preferential loans are provided. 5 projects have already been approved, and until the end of the year minimum 30 and maximum 50 projects are to be approved.

We have completed work on the agriculture sector development strategy, which is of great importance not only for the agricultural sector – agriculture should become one of the main factors contributing to the economy of Georgia.

The document is intended for 2014-2020. Experts of the European Union and the International Organization for Food Protection participated in its development.

The strategy aims to increase the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and to create conditions for sustainable development of agriculture.

– How are you going to achieve such results?

– Strategy is a shared document, which provides development of 7 main directions – primarily the growth of competitiveness, the development of a full cycle of added value, food security and the conservation of biological diversity.

As for how to achieve these goals, we are working on a specific plan of action in which measures for implementation of priorities will be taken into account.

As it is known, we have implemented a lot of projects over the past year and a half, many specific projects are to be implemented, which will make it possible to fulfill the terms of strategy.

– How will farmers and peasants be able to feel the first results of the strategy?

– For example, at this stage extensive work on the rehabilitation of the irrigation system has been carried out in many regions.Currently, the area of irrigated land has almost doubled in comparison with 2012.

Of course, this is very small, as in the Soviet times about 400 000 hectares of land were irrigated, and in 2012 – only  25 000.

Currently figure has doubled, and in the end, the area of irrigated land will increase to 100 000 hectares. We plan to increase this figure to 400 000 hectares in 4 years.

 In addition, last year we started a preferential agro-loans program, and now loans worth 400 million GEL have been granted on very favorable terms.

– The Ministry of Agriculture speaks a lot about the need to implement agricultural insurance system. What is being done in this direction?

– We have already developed a draft of agricultural insurance, which, after further consideration will be presented in Parliament.

I can also say that we are going to deal with bad weather – in particular, together with the center”Delta” we will have anti-hail rocket system that will ensure the prevention of hail, which constantlydestroys the crop in different regions of Georgia.